A couple of weeks ago, I met for lunch and swimming with my friend, Wendy, and her children. As the two of us watched our kids splash and jump around in a neighborhood pool, Wendy and I chatted about her hearing loss and blindness. I had so many questions to ask her that I couldn’t fit them all into our conversation—and the kids obviously required three-fourths of our attention. So I followed up with Wendy in an email interview.
What is your earliest memory of vision loss and hearing loss?
It might have been in high school now that I recollect issues. I remember almost getting hit by the garage door while it was going down.
Wow. That is scary.
When we recently spoke, you described your vision loss as seeing things with Vaseline smeared over your sunglasses. You also mentioned having no peripheral vision. What are the causes of your vision and hearing loss?The retinitis pigmentosa was diagnosed as spontaneous. The hearing loss, which has nothing to do with the vision loss, is heredity.
I noticed some computer gadgets in your home during our recent visit. Explain how you use technology to help you see and hear the world.
Eventually using the Alphapointe program introduced me to the technology use the techniques to adapt to the environment and at home. Eventually I learned to use Zoom Text which enables me to use my computer efficiently.
Digital hearing aids are used for my hearing loss.
When I first met you, we were at a Hearing Loss Association of America picnic and you gave me a flyer about hearing assistive technology, called looping. How did you get started on your looping campaign?
That’s cool, Wendy. Readers—Click here for more info about what looping is.
No problem. Now I have to ask: As the mom of two amazing children, what is a typical day like for you at home?
Besides doing everything normal as all mothers do for their families, I exercise on a regular basis and work from home. I am involved in the Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk. Being organized helps in all aspects, especially since I am not able to drive.
You have such a positive outlook on life. Any other information about yourself that you would like to share?
I have a strong passion for people with vision and hearing impairment. With my knowledge on hearing loop technology, I hope to share this product where needed.
There are approximately roughly 45,000 to 50,000 individuals in the U.S who are deaf-blind. – National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.
Read More About the DeafBlind Experience
Readers—Do you have experience with deafness and blindness? Share your story with me by leaving a comment.